E-mail campaign for Easter break a hoax

University e-mail users who expect an extra treat in their Easter basket this year – an additional day off – won’t be frolicking through the fields in search of eggs April 2.
Instead, they will have to wait until April 4 to receive their chocolate, jellybeans and marshmallow chickens.
Although a few University of Nebraska-Lincoln students tried to unite their peers via e-mail and requested the Good Friday holiday off, university officials were not convinced.
“It’s a hoax. The e-mail is false,” UNL Chancellor James Moeser said. “There will be classes.”
The e-mail, originating from a fictitious person, Dennis Shields, whose fictitious title was University of Nebraska Admissions counselor, requested all UNL users of the bigred e-mail system to forward the message, asking for Moeser to cancel all classes April 2.
“In order to do this, as a student body, we must all show our strong bond. I suggested that we should start a chain e-mail,” the message said.
The e-mail said a meeting was conducted with Moeser and Associate to the Chancellor Herb Howe, which supposedly resulted in the understanding.
Moeser said the meeting did not occur.
Larry Routh, University of Nebraska-Lincoln director of admissions, said Shields was not an employee of his office.
“No such person exists,” Routh said. “I guess this is proof people can’t believe everything they read over e-mail and the Internet.”
Moeser and other university officials received the e-mail Wednesday morning.
Laughing, Moeser said whomever the source of the e-mail was, they were “trying to have some fun.”
Administrators said they began working on stopping the e-mail’s dissemination as soon as they found out.
Moeser said he was not too concerned about finding who started the e-mail.
“We are going to try to stop the transmission through the bigred server,” Moeser said. “Nothing more than that.”
Dave Spanel, UNL information services systems coordinator, said the university has no way to moderate e-mail forwards distributed by students.
“We can’t prevent e-mail being forwarded,” Spanel said. Spanel said forwarding was a normal e-mail privilege.
Spanel said, however, the university does regulate distribution lists sent e-mail users through bigred and other university servers, pending approval by a vice chancellor.
Moeser said he thought the e-mail was amusing, but he encouraged students to be more productive with their time.
“I hope students have better things to do with their time than forward e-mails like this,” Moeser said. “I say, get back to your studies, or do something more worthwhile.”
Senior editor Lindsay Young contributed to this report.

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